Third Sunday of Advent: Hope Among Us

Third Sunday of Advent: Hope Among Us
Baguio City First UMC Bible Kids Club send gifts to children in the Child and Family Care Services. From the 2020 Prayer Calendar.

Isaiah 61:1-4

Thousands of years ago, the preparation for the birth of Christ was not as joyous as today. It was punctuated with poverty and characterized by violence perpetuated by the Roman Empire. Children were snatched away from their families and killed. The first Christmas was not festive, it was a time of the death of many innocent children.

Now that Christmas is just around the corner, one of the questions that arises is, how do we prepare to celebrate Christmas amid the pandemic, how do we find ways to celebrate together in the midst of uncertainties while grappling with the issues of the “new normal”? How do we celebrate Christmas at a time when the world is replete with humanitarian crises, where do we find our hope?

The pandemic and lockdowns drastically changed our lives. If there’s one thing that this global economic and health crisis reveals to us, it’s that we were unprepared. In a developing country such as the Philippines, where people’s lives are mired with poverty, the pandemic has shown us what is really wrong in our society today. We have been exposed yet again to the glaring inequalities between the haves and the have-nots, and many vulnerable folks, including poor people, have been consigned to the fringes of society, left to fend for themselves

Creating change

In the midst of dismal situations, where people continue to struggle to sustain life, hope seems elusive. But still, I see people continuing to struggle for better life, demanding accountability from the government, speaking out and creating change. And in the midst of the most dire circumstances, people continue to rise up so that life will continue for others. 

The words of the prophet Isaiah say it beautifully, that as a people we are anointed to proclaim the good news—and that we are empowered to change the course of our situation. The good news is that hope, after all, is in all of us.

I believe that our people have always been preparing for the coming of Christ. And that these preparations involve sustained and joyful work with communities, lifting up one another even in the midst of strife. These collaborations include education and relief drives, advocacy, movements building connections with grassroots, and challenging the powers that undermine the life that God has given us. 

In the midst of the pandemic we are challenged to embody the spirit of the Lord that has come especially to the most vulnerable, to question, to resist oppression, and to hope and act together so that life in all its fullness may be achieved. 

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for the gift of hope in the midst of strife. May your spirit continue to empower us now and for generations to come. 

Johanna May Cantor Dela CruzJohanna May Cantor Dela Cruz, is a human rights advocate and ecumenical worker who enjoys the outdoors. She works at the National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

Posted or updated: 12/11/2020 12:00:00 AM

Give Thanks. Give Now.

Advent 2020

November 29: First Sunday of Advent
December 6: Second Sunday of Advent
December 13: Third Sunday of Advent
December 20: Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 24: Christmas Eve
December 31: New Year's Eve


2021 Prayer CalendarClick Here.2021 Prayer Calendar available on the e-store